Rheumatology is an excellent career choice for those who enjoy the challenges of clinical medicine.
It offers clinical diversity and career flexibility with opportunities to develop practical skills in joint injection and musculoskeletal ultrasound.
The specialty is also ideally suited to the development of subspecialty clinical, academic or educational interests and high levels of job satisfaction are reported by UK rheumatologists.
Rheumatology - trainee characteristics
Rheumatology will suit trainees who are:
stimulated by the challenges of diagnosis, and treatment of diverse conditions affecting a wide range of systems and age groups
interested in the link between basic science research, disease aetiology and development of 'cutting edge' therapeutic agents
committed and motivated to support patients with chronic disease.
Working/training in an ST3 rheumatology post
Rheumatology is one of the most exciting and varied medical specialties.
The rheumatologist relies heavily on basic clinical skills to diagnose diverse conditions ranging from regional soft tissue problems, to complex multisystem diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, connective tissue disorders and systemic vasculitis.
The clinical skills of the rheumatologist are widely respected and often called upon when faced with the most complex diagnostic challenges.
Team-based working is the norm in rheumatology, thus promoting a supportive environment for trainees.
Opportunities for diversifying training
There are numerous opportunities to develop sub-specialty interests in clinical, scientific or educational fields, and many rheumatologists become national and international leaders in each of these areas.
There are extensive opportunities for collaborative working with colleagues in primary & secondary care and the scientific community.
Most of the workload is planned outpatient and day case based, and as such lends itself to an excellent work-life balance.
ST3 rheumatology posts are competitive and attract high calibre trainees.
While prior experience in rheumatology is desirable, demonstrating a commitment to the specialty is essential.
On appointment to an ST3 post, all trainees now must undertake a five-year programme to dual accredit with general internal medicine (GIM). It is no longer possible to undertake a four-year training programme in pure rheumatology.
Upon completion of training, about 70% of consultants in the UK currently practise pure rheumatology. The requirement of trainees to dual accredit with GIM has been made with a view to expand the consultant numbers who practise rheumatology with GIM.
Rheumatology is one of the few specialties where there is still a reasonable balance between the number of trainees and the availability of consultant posts in the UK.
In summary: rheumatology offers academic stimulation, clinical diversity, excellent career prospects and a good work-life balance.
Find out more about rheumatology and the services delivered by the specialty on Medical Care – the RCP’s online guide to service design.
Queries regarding the progress of a submitted application should be directed to the lead recruiter for this specialty. The lead recruiter for haematology in round 1 2018 is London and South East (LaSE) Recruitment:
|London and South East (LaSE) Recruitment|
|ST3/general queries||General enquiries - https://lasepgmdesupport.hee.nhs.uk/support/home|
|Disability/GIS queries - confidential||https://lasepgmdesupport.hee.nhs.uk/support/home|
|Fitness to practise queries - confidential||https://lasepgmdesupport.hee.nhs.uk/support/home|
General / application queries
For general queries relating to areas such as eligibility criteria, making an application or the Oriel system, please contact the Specialty Recruitment Office via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This specialty uses the standard ST3 eligibility criteria, and does not accept candidates from any alternative training routes.
Please visit the am I eligible? section of this website for further information.
National single centre model
This specialty uses the single centre recruitment model.
You will not be required to give any preferences of particular regions when completing your application; you are applying purely for the specialty at that stage.
Later on, you will be required to give preferences of the available posts – at that point, you can opt to be considered for as many (or as few) post vacancies available nationally as you wish.
Lead region and single centre interviews
The specialty will nominate a particular region to act as lead for the round; this region is shown under the 'Who do I contact?' tab above. This lead region will review all applications, liaise with all candidates, host interviews, verify assessments, and make offers on behalf of all regions nationally.
Your application will be handled solely by the lead region throughout the entire round, up to the point where you receive and accept an offer; after which it will be transferred to the region where the post is based for pre-employment checks.
All interviews will be held at this lead region although the clinicians making up the interview panel will be drawn from a national background – ie not just from the host region.
It is possible that there could be changes between now and the interview period. Please bear this in mind when reviewing the information below, although in most cases it is not expected this will change, or any changes will be minimal. You are advised to check back in closer to the time of interview. The date at the foot of this page shows when the page was last updated.
You will spend approximately 10 minutes at each of the three interview stations, with three-to-five minutes' transfer time between each. Thus the overall time for the interview will be approximately 40-45 minutes.
Click on the relevant stations below for more information on the content of the interview.
Please note that this is subject to change, and will be confirmed by the date of interview.
This is where your application form and training to date will be reviewed. This will include checking the documentation you have brought along to ensure all content on your application form is correct.
Normally your evidence folder will have been reviewed by the interviewers immediately prior to your arrival in the station. They will be:
• Checking that your achievements in your evidence folder match that claimed on your application form.
• Considering your career progression to date.
• Identifying areas about which they may wish to question you during the interview.
Areas for assessment
The two main aspects of discussion here, on which you will be assessed, will be your suitability for and commitment to ST3 training in the specialty, and your achievements and engagement with training and learning to date.
Scoring at the station
It is important to recognise that the scores awarded to you at this station will not purely be about your achievements, as this already contributes towards the scoring via your application form. Interviewers will be deciding upon scores via a combination of factors, for example: your responses to the questions asked, the breadth and quality of your achievements and your career progression.
Prior to arriving at station 2, you will be given a clinical scenario to review. Upon arrival at station 2, you will be asked questions relating to this scenario.
The clinical scenario will be relatively brief (two/three sentences), so once you have read this, the remainder of the pre-station time will allow you to undertake some short preparation (just mental preparation - this does not mean making notes, etc.)
The scenario will describe a hypothetical clinical situation which has arisen in which you are, or have become, involved.
There are some points you should consider when reviewing the scenario and preparing for discussion:
- what steps you would take
- any potential treatments possible
- any further information you would gather
- how you would go about communicating with any people (eg patients, family members, colleagues) involved in the scenario.
Of course, you should take into account any other factors you deem appropriate, using your experience and professional judgement.
Areas for assessment
One mark will be awarded to you based on your suggestions and responses to the clinical scenario.
The second assessment carried out here will be on the communication skills you display.
This will be both an assessment of how you would communicate with patients, colleagues, etc. in the scenario, as well as of how well you communicate with interviewers at the station.
[Please note - interview nerves will be taken into account!]
This station will feature assessment of an ethical scenario, and discussion of a question on the subject of professionalism & governance.
The first assessment area will be the ethical scenario. As with the clinical scenario at station 2, this takes the form of a hypothetical situation, described briefly in text form, details of which will be given to you before arriving at station 3.
However, as you would expect this scenario focuses less on a clinical situation, and deals more with consideration of the moral, ethical, legal (etc.) issues which may arise in a particular situation.
The first area of assessment at station 3 will be your suggested reponses to the ethical scenario during discussion here, as well as your knowledge of the different considerations required.
Professionalism & governance
Following the ethical scenario will be discussion of professionalism & governance.
This discussion will be prompted by a short question (often a single sentence) provided by interviewers. This will not be given to you before arriving at the station - this will be given verbally by interviewers once ethical scenario discussion is finished.
This section of the interview is designed to assess your demonstration and understanding of professionalism and governance in a given situation.
Familiarise yourself with Good Medical Practice
Please note - assessment at station 3 is underpinned by the principles of GMC Good Medical Practice.
Appointable - automatic
If you are awarded a score of at least 3 / 5, for all marks given to you at your interview, then you will automatically be classed as appointable .
Not appointable - automatic
If any of the 12 scores awarded to you at interview are 1 / 5 , this will reflect poor performance and an area of major concern.
If four or more of your 12 interview scores are of 2 / 5 , this will reflect several areas of concern across your whole interview.
Should your interview assessment fall under either category above, the level of concern over your potential progression to ST3 will see your application classed automatically as not appointable .
Appointability subject to panel decision
In the event that your 12 interview scores contain one, two or three marks of 2/5 (and the rest 3/5 or above), your appointability status will be subject to discussion in the post-interview 'wash-up' meeting.
The clinicians who have interviewed you will discuss your general performance during the interview and any concerns or otherwise they have about your application as a whole.
Should they deem it appropriate, your application will be classed as appointable, and you can then be considered for post offers; whereas if they feel their concerns are too substantial for this outcome, they must class your application as not appointable, and it will progress no further in the current recruitment round.
Review vs automatic status
Please note there is no distinction made between candidates judged as appointable automatically, and those classed as appointable on review. Once deemed appointable it is only your overall score which will be used to determine ranking.
Total score weighting
After interview, a weighting is applied to the scores in each area, as well as the 'shortlist' score awarded to your application form.
These scores are then combined to give your total score which is determing your ranking which will in turn be used to inform how offers are made. The weighting of different sections, as well as the method by which your total score is established, can be seen by clicking on 'Total score calculation' below.
Please note that this is subject to change, and will be confirmed by the date of interview.
|Int. 1||Int. 2||Weighting||Max score|
|Evidence||/ 5||/ 5||x1.6||/ 16|
|Suitability for specialty||/ 5||/ 5||x1.2||/ 12|
|Clinical scenario||/ 5||/ 5||x1.6||/ 16|
|Communication mark||/ 5||/ 5||x0.8||/ 8|
|Ethical scenario||/ 5||/ 5||x1.6||/ 16|
|Professionalism and governance||/ 5||/ 5||x1.2||/ 12|
|Raw interview score||/ 60|
|Interview score (including weighting)||/ 80|
|Short-listing (app form)||/ 80||x0.25||/ 20|
|Overall assessment score||/ 100|
As part of the process of applying to ST3, you may wish to gain an idea of how recruitment progressed in previous years for the various specialties participating in RCP-coordinated recruitment.
To this end, we have published data dating back to 2013 (where this is available), based around four main areas:
Competition ratios - application numbers submitted to each specialty, along with the number of NTN and LAT posts available in each. It is worth noting that posts are subject to change throughout the round (increasing on average between 20-40%), and post numbers for this data are taken at the end of the round.
Shortlist scores - the scores awarded to all submitted applications, including average scores and distribution nationally.
Total scores - the total score awarded to all candidates who completed the full recruitment process for a specialty (application and interview), including some analysis of scores.
Post fill rates - the number of posts filled by region.
We have published information for all specialties participating in our process that year; consequently not all specialties will have data in all cases.
|Rheumatology||Applications||NTN posts||LAT posts||Total posts||Competition||Unique to specialty*|
|2017 round 1||115||37||0||37||3.1||41%|
|2016 round 1||115||34||4||38||3.0||35%|
|2015 round 1||121||57||11||68||1.8||50%|
* the percentage of unique candidates that applied only to this specialty
|Rheumatology||Applications||NTN posts||LAT posts||Total posts||Competition|
|2017 round 2||42||32||1||33||1.3|
|2016 round 2||49||18||1||19||2.6|
|2015 round 2||52||25||8||33||1.6|
Provisional post numbers
Specialty vacancy numbers are available in the table below, broken down by region and divided between substantive national training number (NTN) and locum appointment for training (LAT) posts.
It is the intention that initial post numbers for all regions will be published prior to the application opening date, although this cannot be guaranteed. Numbers will be updated as and when notifications are received from each region and will be checked later in the round when programme preferences are open for selection.
Numbers subject to change
Please be aware that it is not uncommon for vacancy numbers to change throughout the round.
More commonly, post vacancy numbers can increase as the round goes on (and confirmation of posts becomes available); but it is also possible that numbers can reduce as well. On average post numbers rise between 20-40% from the start to the finish of the round but this can vary greatly for individual specialty/region combinations.
It is possible that regions which do not have a post at the start of the round may declare one after applications have closed. Whilst we try and minimise instances of this, it is not always possible to predict vacancies so even if there appears not to be a vacancy in your preferred specialty/region combination, you may wish to consider applying in case one becomes available during the round; you can check with the region concerned if you wish to check on the likelihood of a post arising.
Generally, once a region enter a post into a round they would always have at least one post available and would only withdraw it in exceptional circumstances.
Round 1 Interview dates & posts
|Region||NTN posts||LAT posts*||Interview date(s)|
|HE East Midlands||
|HE East of England||tbc||n/a|
London and South East
Kent, Surrey & Sussex
|HE North East||tbc||n/a|
|HE North West||
|HE South West||
|HE Thames Valley||tbc||n/a|
|HE West Midlands||tbc||n/a|
|HE Yorkshire & Humber||tbc||n/a|
Please note, English regions do not recruit to LAT posts.
**Scotland post numbers
If you are interested in working in Scotland, a breakdown of post numbers by the four Scottish deaneries is available on the Scottish Medical Training website. This has details of all specialty training post numbers in Scotland, including specialties which are not part of the RCP-coordinated process.
Please note that whilst we endeavour to keep the ST3 recruitment website up to date, the SMT website will always be the more accurate one where they differ.